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Xavi returns to Barcelona as a coach

Xavi returns to Barcelona as a coach

Xavi Hernández, the footballer who embodied the attacking style popularized by Barcelona and the Spanish national team, will return to the Camp Nou, now as a coach.

Barcelona announced in the early hours of Saturday that Xavi agreed to a contract in force until 2024. Thus, the ex-flyer will take over the reins of the club he had followed since his childhood and which is now in crisis.

Hours earlier, Xavi’s employer, the Qatari Al-Sadd club, indicated that it would release him from his contract as a strategist once his termination clause was covered. The contract with Al-Sadd ran until 2023.

Xavi will replace Ronald Koeman, who was fired last week after a series of defeats by the Catalan club, who were unable to rehire Lionel Messi. Sergi Barjuan has managed Barcelona ever since, in a draw in the Spanish League and a win in the Champions League.

Barjuan will resume his duties as coach of the reserve team after the meeting this Saturday at the Celta de Vigo field.

Xavi, 41, left Barcelona in 2015 after contributing to 25 titles in 17 seasons, including four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish League championships. He was also key in the consecrations of Spain in the 2010 World Cup and in the 2008 and 2012 Euro Cups.

He has been with Al-Sadd since he left Barcelona, ​​first as a player and then as a strategist.

The termination clause would have amounted to five million euros ($ 5.7 million). Barcelona did not mention her when announcing the agreement with Xavi. He limited himself to saying that it came after talks held in recent days with the Qatari club.

Al-Sadd wished Xavi luck.

“Xavi informed us a few days ago about his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, due to the critical state of the club in his city, and we understand this and decided not to get in his way,” said the director Al-Sadd General Turki Al-Ali in a message posted on the team’s Twitter account. “We have agreed to cooperate with Barcelona in the future. Xavi is an important part of Al-Sadd’s history and we wish him success ”.

Xavi’s vision, as well as the precision of his passing and his ability to retain the ball under intense pressure made him a protagonist of the most successful eras of Barcelona and the Spanish national team.

Joan Laporta, the president of Barça hopes that, as a strategist, Xavi will return to the club the seductive offensive style that was based on suffocating possession and numerous and accurate passes.

However, Xavi arrives without experience as a coach in a prestigious league. And he will face the same challenge that led to the fall of the Dutch Koeman: Barcelona is no longer the power in which Xavi himself played.

The team’s battered finances prevented him from retaining Messi and other prominent players, such as France’s Antoine Griezmann and Uruguay’s Luis Suárez.

For the current campaign, the Catalan team could only hire players who were not tied to any club.

Xavi inherits a team that is going through hardships in the Spanish League and that is not assured of its classification in the group stage of the Champions League.

In addition, it remains to be seen whether Xavi’s personal relationship with veterans such as Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Jordi Alba, his former teammates, is beneficial or harmful, especially given the reality that the team must continue to renew itself, a process that Koeman began.

To his credit, Xavi can benefit from the work undertaken by Koeman, who brought several youngsters into his starting lineup. Among them, stands out Pedri González, 18, who has also had a superb year with Spain.

There is also Gavi Páez, 17, whose conditions would be perfectly adapted to the style of play that Xavi favors. Forward Ansu Fati has also emerged as a possible star.

Xavi turned down the opportunity to coach Barcelona in January 2020, when Laporta’s predecessor fired Ernesto Valverde midway through the season.

He will debut in the derby against Espanyol, on November 20, after the FIFA Date.


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